BORIS Johnson has suggested there should not be another referendum on Scottish independence until 2055.

The Prime Minister made the comments this morning when asked why people throughout the UK could vote to leave the EU but someone in Scotland could not vote for the country to be independent.

Johnson said people in the UK had had the chance to vote twice on EU membership in 1975 and 2016 and the period between them was "right" in terms of referendums.

"Referendums in my experience, in my direct experience in this country, are not particularly jolly events. They don't have a notably unifying force in the national mood and they should be only once in a generation," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme.

Marr pressed him, asking why 'the English' were allowed to have a referendum and leave the EU, while Scotland wasn't allowed one on leaving the UK.

Johnson replied: "We had a referendum in 1975 and we had another in 2016 and that seems to be the right sort of gap. So how about that."

The National:

Boris Johnson in his first interview of 2021 on BBC's Andrew Marr programme this morning.  Photo PA

In early November last year Scottish Secretary Alister Jack suggested another vote on independence could be “25 to 40” years away.

Jack suggested that another independence vote would not be held for at least two decades, citing the “once in a generation” claim.

When asked if ministers were ruling out a referendum for the full term of the next Scottish Parliament, regardless of the election outcome, Jack said: “It’s no for a generation”.

Asked to define a generation, he said: “Is it 25 years or is it 40 years? You tell me, but it’s certainly not six years nor 10”.

However, after fury in Scotland he later went back on his suggestion that an independence referendum should be banned for 40 years, claiming he had been speaking “jocularly”.

The Scottish Secretary then said he now regarded 25 years as the minimum period, based on the SNP claim before the 2014 vote that it was a once in a generation event.

He claimed he only mentioned 40 years after a TV interviewer “raised an eyebrow” at him.

Jack provoked anger by telling BBC Scotland’s Glenn Campbell the generation wait for indyref2 could be 25 to 40 years.

At the time First Minister Nicola Sturgeon linked it to Donald Trump losing the US election.

She tweeted: “As we’re seeing across the Atlantic just now, politicians who rage against democracy don’t prevail. Let’s not dignify this rubbish.”

Some 17 successive polls have given a majority in favour of Scottish independence, with two surveys putting support at a record 58%.

However, Johnson has repeated ruled out handing over powers to Holyrood to hold a new vote on independence on terms agreed by the UK and Scottish Governments.